An Ikeja Special Offences Court has sentenced a driver, Francis Apai, to 15 years imprisonment for raping his employer’s 17-year-old daughter in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Sherifat Solebo sentenced Apai after finding him guilty of a one-count charge of sexual assault by penetration. “The defendant, Francis Apai, is hereby sentenced to 15 years imprisonment without an option of fine,” the judge said.
The Prosecutor, Ms Iyabode Oshodi, had told the court that the driver, who resides at No. 129, Aina street, Isheri, Lagos, committed the offence on Nov. 19, 2014, at the complainant’s home in Lagos. During the trial, five witnesses, including the complainant, her father and a medical doctor, testified for the prosecution, while Apai testified solely in his own defence.
While being led in evidence by the prosecution on Jan. 7, the complainant gave a harrowing account of how she was violently attacked and raped by Apai, who was her mother’s driver. “My mother is a businesswoman; he (Apai) also usually drives my father whenever my mother was not around and he takes me and my younger brother to school,” she said.
The complainant said that on the day of the incident, she was at home alone because her parents had taken her younger brother, who had fallen ill at about 3 am. that morning, to the hospital.
She told the court that while she was preparing a meal in the kitchen, the driver approached her with a knife and threatened to harm her if she refused to accede to his sexual demands. She said that when she put up a resistance, the driver dragged her to a bedroom in her home where he continually punched, strangled and raped her.
The victim told the court that she had to run out of her home stark naked to escape her attacker. “When I ran out naked, my neighbour downstairs saw me and asked me to come into her house but I refused because Francis was with a knife and I was scared that he might come into the house and attack me.
“I ran across the street to another neighbor, with blood streaming down my legs and they gave me a wrapper to cover myself up. “My neighbours took me to the police station and the hospital,” she narrated.
Also testifying on Jan. 7, the complainant’s father, a clergyman, said that after hearing the news of his daughter’s rape, he returned home. He said that he noticed that Apai, while fleeing after the attack, had left his boxer shorts (underwear), his pair of slippers, a wrap of sweet and half-smoked cigarette in the home.
A medical doctor, Dr Olusegun Bankole of Alimosho General Hospital, while giving evidence on Nov. 21, 2019, had said that the complainant lost her virginity as a result of the forced penetration. The doctor said that the physical examination conducted on the teenager revealed that she had also suffered multiple bruises around her neck and defensive wounds around her two hands.
While being led in evidence by the defence counsel, Mr Qudus Mumuni on Jan. 8, Apai denied raping his employer’s daughter. He said that the complainant had, through three phone calls, invited him to her home.
Apai said that when he got to his employer’s house, the complainant made a meal for him and while he was eating the meal, she showed him some photos and videos she had downloaded on her new mobile phone. “While I was done with the food, she told me to take a proper look at the photos she had downloaded. While I was looking at the photos and films, I got to a part where I saw XXX, which were porn videos. “When I decided to look at one of the porn videos, she snatched the phone playfully that she did not want me to see the videos.
“After a while, someone opened the kitchen door and I left through the front door. Because that day was a work-free day for me, I went back to my house and later the day, I went to a viewing centre,” he said.
Apai told the court that while he was at the viewing centre, he was informed by another driver that he was accused of rape and was arrested on Nov. 20, 2014, by a group of youths.